Ask the Nutritionist: Nutrient knowledge

Q: I take a multivitamin, but I’d like to make a bigger effort in getting the nutrients I need from whole foods as well. What should I be eating?

A: Optimally, it would be great if you could get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need from the whole foods you consume every day, but sometimes a multivitamin is a necessity as well. With that being said, here’s a little rundown of the key nutrients, what they do for you, and what whole food sources you can find them in:

Vitamin A: Promotes good vision; maintains healthy skin, cells and tissues

Orange or yellow vegetables and fruits and dark green leafy vegetables

Vitamin C: Promotes healthy gums and teeth; necessary for the production of collagen; is a potent antioxidant

Citrus, berries, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli,

Vitamin E: An antioxidant which keeps cells and tissues healthy

Vegetable oil, nuts, wheat germ, green leafy vegetables

Vitamin K: Essential for normal blood clotting

Dark green leafy vegetables, dairy products

Vitamin B1: Necessary for heart function and healthy nervous system

Whole grains, legumes, pork, seeds/nuts

Vitamin B2: Essential for growth and production of red blood cells

Dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, enriched grain products, dark green leafy vegetables

Vitamin B3: Helps to maintain healthy skin, nerves and digestive system

Meat, poultry, fish, nuts, dairy products; peanut butter

Vitamin B6: Aids in protein metabolism and helps to maintain brain and nervous system functions

Whole grains, legumes (beans), meat, poultry, fish, nuts

Vitamin B12: Necessary for development of red blood cells and normal nervous system function Meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs

Phosphorus: Necessary for energy metabolism and for healthy bones and teeth

Fish, meat, poultry, milk, cereal products

Chromium: Maintains normal metabolism and is important in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats

Liver, yeast, cheese, wheat germ, mushrooms, seafood 

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